DARKMATTERS - The Mind of Matt

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Monday, December 25, 2017

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12a)

Dir. Jake Kasden

Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)

“It’s a video game, which means we all have three lives, but if we lose them and die in the game, we die for real…”

Back in 1995 the Robin Williams starring Jumanji, about a board game that came to life, grossed a quarter of a billion dollars. So, it’s not a massive surprise to see we’ve gotten a belated sequel – this time updated so that that Jumanji has become the ultimate interactive video game…

Players ready...

When four stereotypical high-school kids discover the Jumanji console they are immediately sucked into the game's jungle, literally becoming the avatars they chose: nerdy gamer Spencer becomes a brawny adventurer Dr. Smolder Bravestone (Dwayne Johnson); football jock ‘Fridge’ loses - in his words - "the top two feet of his body" and becomes a zoologist named Moose Finbar (Kevin Hart); the hot popular girl Bethany becomes overweight middle-aged male Professor Sheldon Oberon (Jack Black); and shy, gawky Martha becomes badass warrior Ruby Roundhouse (Karen Gillan).

Director Jake ‘Bad Teacher’ Kasden at least seems to ‘get’ video games – I guess having Sony finance the flick might help too (there are some not so subtle PS4 game posters in Spencer’s bedroom such as the classic action adventure Uncharted etc). But you don't so much ‘play’ Jumanji as try to survive it…

Open up and say 'arghhhh'

There is much easy going fun to be had watching the kids trying out their avatar’s powers and coming to terms with getting eaten by hippos, pushed off mountains and shot by baddies only to return (at least the first time)… The body swap jokes about Bethany getting used to having male bits – e.g. peeing standing up and finding that it’s not a gun in her pocket when getting feels for someone are handled well too.

Gillan has fun playing up her having been given such a skimpy outfit “Why am I wearing half a shirt and short shorts in a jungle?” and making into a girl power statement by kicking lots of ass. Johnson and Hart have good banter chemistry and Jack Black has is just great acting up as spoilt pretty princess trapped in his body.

game time

The plot is predictable but the action-packed video game ‘levels’ are enjoyable bringing the required thrills and peril. The special effects deliver the suitable spectacle, especially when the unfriendly jungle critters get to cause serious mayhem.

For a funny, undemanding and mostly family-friendly romp, this is one video game adaptation that is worth seeing on the big screen.

Out of a potential 5, you have to go with a Darkmatters:


(3 - Play to win...)

Awesomeness ööö  – Spectacular in places

Laughs ööö  – Some nice funnies

Horror öö – Peril and one seriously angry hippo!

Spiritual Enlightenment öö - Team is the key 

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